Scales for Justice

Working towards peace and reconciliation



Right to Development

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights promised freedom from fear and want to every human being and declared that “everyone is entitled to a social and international order in which the rights and freedoms set forth in [the] Declaration can be fully realized”. Development therefore is a human right that belongs to everyone, with no discrimination and includes the right to self-determination as well as the right to full sovereignty over natural wealth and resources.

The right to development was proclaimed by the United Nations in 1986 in the "Declaration on the Right to Development" and reaffirmed by the 1993 Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action. The Declaration on the Right to Development  recognizes in this regard that "development is a comprehensive economic, social,  cultural and political process, which aims at the constant improvement of the  well-being of the entire population [...]"          

The duties of States

States have the primary responsibility for the creation of conditions favourable to the realization of the right to  development and shall formulate appropriate national  development policies that aim at the constant improvement of the well-being of  the entire population. States therefore have to undertake all necessary  measures for the realization of the right to development and shall ensure equality of opportunity for all in their access to basic  resources such as education, health services, food, housing, employment and the fair  distribution of income.

According to the Declaration on the Right to Development States further shall "take resolute steps to eliminate the massive and flagrant  violations of the human rights of peoples and human beings affected by situations such as those resulting from apartheid, all forms of racism and  racial discrimination, colonialism, foreign domination and occupation,  aggression, foreign interference and threats against national sovereignty,  national unity and territorial integrity, threats of war and refusal to  recognize the fundamental right of peoples to self-determination. 

Violations of the right to development

Despite biding obligations poverty, economic crises, armed conflicts and unemployment continue to hamper the right to development in our world today. It is therefore essential to recognize and eliminate the sources of massive and flagrant violations of the rights of peoples to devlopment, especially in situations resulting from colonialism, neo-colonialism, apartheid, all forms of  racism and racial discrimination, foreign domination and occupation,  aggression and threats against national sovereignty, national unity and  territorial integrity and threats of war.

What the UN does

The UN has established an Intergovernmental Working Group on the Right to Development in 1998. The group has the mandate to monitor and review progress made in the promotion and implementation of the right to development, to review reports and any other information it receives from States, intergovernmental organizations and NGOs and to present a sessional report with regard to the implementation of the right to development. The Working Group is an open-ended working group, meaning that UN Member and Observer States, inter-governmental organizations and NGOs may attend public meetings of the Working Group. 

The sixteenth session of the Working Group will be held from 27 April to 1 May 2015. The Working Group will consider, revise and refine the draft right to development criteria and consider a framework in consultation with regional and political groups to improve its effectiveness and efficiency.

What Scales for Justice (S4J) does

S4J attends the meetings of the UN Working Group on the right to Development. It strongly advocates for the right to development on an international level and submits information and urgent appeals to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in cases where the right to development is violated, especially in relation to the issue of colonialism, racism and racial discrimination as well as foreign domination and occupation.

 S4J further organizes humanitarian actions aimed at helping those deprived of the fruits of development due to political instability such as victims of war and conflict, erfugees, as well as those suffering from racial discrimination and apartheid.   

To this end S4J also partiipates in an NGO committee on the right to development, which monitors the post 2015 development agenda, defining the future global development framework that will succeed the UN Millennium Development Goals. (Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger, achieve universal primary education, promote gender equality, reduce child mortality, improve maternal health, combat diseases, ensure environmental sustainability as well as develop a global partnership for development).